They Met As High School Hockey Players. Years Later, They’re Teammates For Life. - CATEGORY Daily News: TITLE

On Feb. 24, Emily Paquin and Arthur Daoulas celebrated their wedding at the National Museum of Women in the Arts. (Krista A. Jones Photography)

When they were just 14, Emily Paquin and Arthur Daoulas fell in love with ice hockey — and each other. Then, more than a decade after the former high school sweethearts first met, they skated back into each other’s lives.

Emily, 28, a talent acquisition manager in Washington, and Arthur, 28, a sales director in Northern Virginia, met in 2003 as freshmen at St. John’s College High School in Chevy Chase. They both played on the school’s ice hockey team and were in the same French class. Both had been hockey fans since childhood — Arthur started playing at 6, and Emily at 10.

Their parents helped schedule local club games, and the families began carpooling to games, which gave Emily and Arthur ample time together. Their friendship and, later, young romance, blossomed.

“My parents stuck me in a carpool with him,” Emily says. “It was just the two of us most of the time.”

They began dating sophomore year; their first official date was on Valentine’s Day at the Cosi in Friendship Heights, where they toasted over s’mores.

That same morning, Arthur had figured out Emily’s locker code and surprised her with roses and a stuffed penguin.

But the next year, Arthur transferred to the National Sports Academy in Lake Placid, N.Y., to focus on playing competitive hockey. Their relationship fizzled, and the pair lost touch and dated other people, talking occasionally on holiday breaks. But they never felt the same spark with anyone else.

“I knew I loved her back then,” Arthur says. “I told her in high school.”

“He is the only person I’ve [dated] that I said ‘I love you’ to,” Emily says. “He’s somebody that never went away in my mind.”

Emily and Arthur Daoulas skate together during a St. Johns hockey game, circa 2005. (Courtesy the Paquin family)

Come January 2017, Arthur reached out to Emily to reconnect while he was in downtown Bethesda with a friend. Emily agreed to meet up at a bar in Adams Morgan, and the two spent the night chatting over drinks. The next day, they hung out at Emily’s apartment and made an attempt to watch “Top Gun,” which she had never seen.

“We made it through the first minute of the movie before we just kept talking,” Emily says. “We didn’t stop — we just kept talking and talking. This was the beginning of us catching up and hanging out. He’s super easy to be around. I couldn’t stop giggling. I was so happy to be with him.”

Later, a gushing Emily called her mother to share the news of their budding relationship.

“I said, ‘Guess who I’m dating?’ ” she says. “I gave no hints, and she knew it was Arthur right away. Everyone said it made sense because he was already like family.”

In fact, Emily’s mother had had the foresight to dry those first Valentine’s flowers and save the stuffed penguin to give to her as an adult.

A month after reconnecting, on Valentine’s Day 2017, and more than a decade after their first date, Arthur returned to the same florist he had gone to in high school, York Flowers on Wisconsin Avenue, to surprise Emily with a bouquet. A couple of months later, he floated the idea of marriage and met her extended family for Easter brunch.

“We’ve known each other for more than half our lives,” Arthur says. “There was just no question.”

Arthur and Emily at the National Museum of Women of the Arts. (Krista A. Jones Photography)

The couple exchanged their vows at the Holy Rosary Catholic Church in Washington. (Krista A. Jones Photography)

Arthur waited until his birthday in May to propose and catch Emily off guard. She had organized a weekend in Bethany Beach, Del., for him and his friends, but the plans were thwarted by rain. Instead, the couple stayed in town and ended up at Tony & Joe’s on the Georgetown waterfront, where Arthur got down on one knee amid the buzz of happy-hour revelers. Once Emily stopped crying, she said yes, and they closed out the night with dinner at Filomena, where Arthur had champagne waiting.

“I was annoyed that he was canning his birthday plans, but this was the last thing I was expecting,” she says. “I was blindsided.”

On Feb. 24, Emily and Arthur exchanged vows at Holy Rosary Catholic Church in Washington before 175 family members and friends and a wedding party of 18.

“When Emily walked down the aisle that day,” Arthur says, “she was the only person I saw in the room.”

An ornate black-tie reception at the National Museum of Women in the Arts followed. For their first dance, they dipped and twirled to Rascal Flatts’s “Bless the Broken Road.” Dessert included toffee peanut butter balls inspired by a recipe from Emily’s grandmother.

“My favorite moments of the wedding where when it felt like it was just the two of us in the room,” Emily says.

Arthur and Emily with their bridesmaids and groomsmen. (Krista A. Jones Photography)

After a honeymoon in Barbados, Arthur and Emily reflected on their journey over the past decade-plus.

“What’s the same is that Emily is always blindingly good to everyone she knows — almost to a fault,” Arthur says. “I knew I loved her back then and immediately knew I loved her again [as adults]. She made me something I’d rather much be — a better person. She gave me focus and purpose.”

Emily appreciated how Arthur instantly clicked with her friends and family.

“I love how outgoing and personable he is,” she says. “That was one of the things I loved about him in high school, and he’s still exactly the same way.”

The two still share a love of hockey. Emily is on the ice maintenance crew at Washington Capitals games and has coached the women’s teams at St. John’s and the University of Maryland. They both play on a recreational hockey team; Arthur plays forward, and Emily is on defense. But their compatibility extends to the ice, too.

“We’re never competitive with each other,” Arthur says. “It’s more instinctive when we’re out there on the same team. We’ve played together for so long.”

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